Improbably Divine: 11 Unconventional Religious Artifacts

Religious images seem to have appeared over the years in everything from a sliced potato to 400-year-old granite, and some lucky finds from around the world have sold for thousands of dollars on eBay and reportedly delivered divine messages.

One of the latest "discoveries" is a piece of beef at a restaurant in Nigeria that seems to depict the name of the Prophet Muhammad and has diners flocking to see it from miles around.

This so-called "Allah Meat" has inspired scholarly debate in Nigeria and returned these unlikely phenomena to the spotlight.

• Click here to see photos of the unlikely religious icons.

The following is a list of the top 10 improbable relics — which may or may not be worth their weight in gold.

1. Our Lady of Lava

An Australian man says his life has been better ever since he discovered an image of the Virgin Mary in his novelty lava lamp.

The man, who will only identify himself as "John Smith," has since set up a shrine to the lava lamp as well as a Web site,

"This is a true, tangible miracle that is not just an optical illusion. It is visible in all directions and permanently frozen in this shape," he told

"Smith" says that the lamp has helped him with job offers, ease money troubles and even find a partner.

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2. Virgin Mary on Rye

When Diana Duyser of Hollywood, Fla., sat down for breakfast one morning, she made what she calls a “miracle” discovery in her sandwich.

“When I took a bite out of it, I saw a face looking up at me — it was Virgin Mary starring back at me. I was in total shock," she told BBC News four years ago.

Whether or not it was an authentic sighting, Duyser was certain that the untraditional relic, stored in a glass case with cotton balls, brought her good fortune including $70,000 she won at a nearby casino.

In 2004, Duyser cashed in and sold her discovery on eBay to an internet casino for an astounding $28,000.

3. Nun Bun

Known as the “Nun Bun,” a divine pastry resembling the late Mother Teresa brought Bong Java Coffee shop in Nashville, Tenn., more than its share of tourists. The coffee shop began selling T-shirts, mugs and prayer cards featuring the iconic dessert’s image.

The famous cinnamon treat, discovered in 1996, was preserved in a glass case until it was stolen on Christmas Day in 2005.

4. Holy Cow

The miracle meal, which Islamic scholars agree depicts the Arabic word for God and the name of the prophet Muhammad, was discovered at a restaurant in northern Nigeria. Following the sighting, owners searched the kitchen and found three more identical cuts featuring the names.

Since the discovery, thousands of tourists have flocked to the restaurant to get a glimpse of what Islamic scholars declare as a sign that Islam is mankind’s only true religion.

5. Potato-Salad Jesus

Pastor Renee Brewster of Marion County, Fla., was making potato salad for a weekly church meeting when her 10-year-old granddaughter noticed an image of Jesus on the cross etched into a sliced potato.

6. Cooking-Pan Jesus

The Jacksonville, Fla., seller of a piece of cookware is looking to make $500 on a sacred baking pan which appears to be stained with the image of Jesus. The seller claims to have found the iconic pan on the winter solstice in 2005.

7. Fish-Stick Jesus

Fred Whan of Ontario, Canada, flipped his fish stick to discover what he believes to be an image of Jesus on the fry. He has since stored the holy filet carefully in his freezer.

8. Fish-Bone Jesus

In 2005, an Oklahoma couple decided after 10 years of blessings to part ways with a fish bone they say represents an image of Jesus. The couple hopes that the skeleton, which had a starting bid on eBay of $29.95, will bring good luck to its new owner.

9. Granite Jesus

Auctioned on eBay, one bizarre 400-year-old stone purportedly bears the image of Jesus pinned to the cross.

10. Miraculous Melon

Discovered 12 years ago in Senegal just before the month of Ramadan, the watermelon appears to depict the name of Allah and the word "Hamdulillah," meaning "Praise be to God."

11. Virgin Mary in a Tree

Visitors placed candles at the foot of a tree in Dallas which appears to represent the Virgin Mary in a section of missing bark.